Well, the IIMs had to have the last laugh. This time it was in terms of a reduced number of questions. 30 questions to a section and a total of 90 questions.
Each section had 10 one-mark questions and 20 two-marks questions. When the IIMs reduce the number of questions, the biggest victim was the choice that a test taker had in terms of the number of questions that he could skip.
For instance, when there were 165 questions in CAT as in CAT 1999 and CAT 2000, you had 55 questions to each section. And in the case of quant and DI, from these 110 questions you had to choose 40 to 45 questions and get most of them right. So, you could skip about 65 to 70 questions. That is a lot of choice that is available to you. But when you have only 30 questions in hand, and 20 of those are 2 marks questions, then every question you skip or get wrong will cost you a lot. And it looks like it did cost a lot to many who had scored quite well in the practice test.
Having gone through the paper, I believe the section that was tough was the Verbal section. Some of the questions that carried two marks had two plausible answers and it is mere chance that the answer a student chose matched that of the correct ones as IIMs would have thought.
And one big revelation this time was that the IIMs clearly mentioned that the negative marks for getting a question incorrect is one-third the correct answer. So, all the double guessing of progressive negative that CAT test takers in the past had to put up with is off.
What next in CAT 2006? They might just decide that in addition to having negative marks for getting a question incorrect, they would want to penalize you for not attempting a question. Well, CAT 2002 or 2003 had a Math question using this concept!